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North-South vulnerable. North deals.



Published: Thu, October 19, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



North-South vulnerable. North deals.

NORTH

9 3

10 8 3

A 8 3 2

A J 10 6

WEST EAST

Void A 10 6

Q J 9 A K 7 4 2

Q J 7 6 5 4

K Q 8 7 5 9 4 3 2

SOUTH

K Q J 8 7 5 4 2

6 5

K 10 9

Void

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

Pass 1 1 4

Dbl Pass 4 Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Queen of

Study the diagram and bidding of a hand from a European Championship match and decide: Would you rather play or defend four spades after the lead of the queen of hearts?

Obviously, South had no intention of defending any contract. He pulled four hearts doubled to four spades and that closed the auction.

Suppose you elect to defend. If you allow the queen of hearts to win, overtake the heart continuation with the king and lead your singleton diamond, you cannot get partner on lead to give you a diamond ruff and declarer surrenders a spade and makes the rest of the tricks. Neither does it help to overtake the queen of hearts with the king and shift to a diamond to the nine, jack and ace, because declarer will discard his remaining heart loser on the ace of clubs and still come to 10 tricks.

It is correct to elect to play, but the defenders can give you a chance to go wrong. Suppose East overtakes the heart at trick one and shifts to a diamond to your nine, which West allows to hold. If you now lead a spade, East wins, underleads his ace of hearts to West's jack and ruffs the diamond return. Down one.

However, you can counter that by overtaking your nine of diamonds with the ace and cash the ace of clubs for a heart discard. Now all you can lose is one trick in each suit except clubs.

& copy;2006 Tribune Media Services

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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